Sometimes, no matter how great an effort a team puts forth, they don't win.
Such was the case for Columbus High Saturday at the Georgia High School Association State Competition Cheerleading Championships at the Columbus Civic Center, as the Lady Blue Devils placed second in the Class AAAA division behind Veterans. It was the second straight year Columbus finished in the runner-up slot after winning a state title in 2010.
"I'm very proud of how we did," said Columbus head coach Merrimore McDonald. "We went out there and put our best routine on the floor. I have no regrets about how they performed today and I couldn't have asked for anything more of them."
Columbus came into Saturday's finals on the heels of a first-place finish in Friday's sectionals and carried that momentum into its performance. The Lady Blue Devils had no major miscues and any mistakes they made were of the very minor variety.
"We did awesome," said McDonald. "We came out and did what we practiced for. We nailed it just like we did (Friday). We absolutely peaked (Saturday). We couldn't have done anything else to be better than what we were today."
Columbus did gain a measure of revenge with its runner-up finish, as the Lady Blue Devils finished ahead of Region 5-AAAA rival Carrollton, which beat out Columbus for the region title. Carrollton finished third in Class AAAA and South Effingham rounded out the top four.
Brookstone overcame a major mistake in its routine to finish third in the Class A Private division.
The Lady Cougars, who qualified for Saturday's finals as the Region 4-A champions, dropped a cheerleader as she was going up for a stunt, resulting in a deduction of several points. However, the rest of Brookstone's routine was solid enough to land it a top-three finish, which pleased coach Alison McGregor.
"We certainly didn't have our best routine and weren't at 100 percent," said McGregor. But we picked ourselves up and finished strong. I'm so proud of my girls. They handled themselves like champions out there. I'm very proud of them. They had a great season."
Mount Paran Christian won the Class A Private division, followed by Savannah Christian and Hebron Christian came in fourth.
Northside also qualified as a region champion, taking first in Region 1-AAAAA, and the Lady Patriots posted a top-six finish in Class AAAAA. Northside had a strong routine, with only a couple of small bobbles, and seemed to be destined to come close at least duplicating its third-place finish from 2011, if not come in higher.
However, it was Houston County that took home first place, followed by Northgate -- which had a run of five straight state titles snapped -- Starr's Mill and McIntosh in the top four.
"Overall, I thought we did a fabulous job," said Northside coach Jessica Smart. "We stayed focused, pushed until the end and I couldn't have asked for more out of my kids. In my opinion, this was our best routine of the year. You never want to do a perfect routine until you get to the state finals and today we did the best we've done all season. I'm not sure why we didn't at least finish in the top four, but the girls did the best they could and that's all I can ask of them."
In Class AAAAAA, Lambert won its first-ever state title after finishing second in Friday's sectionals. John's Creek, Friday's sectional winner, came in second, followed by Lassiter and Kennesaw Mountain.
The Co-Ed division was won by Ola, which only came in fourth in Friday's sectionals. Defending state champion Winder-Barrow came in second, with Chestatee and Peachtree Ridge rounding out the top four.
In the Class A Public division, Trion took home its third straight state title.
and fifth in the last six years. Commerce came in second, Georgia Military College placed third and Gordon Lee got fourth.
Coosa, which won Friday's sectional, took home its second straight Class AA state title ahead of Region 7-AA rival Calhoun, Jefferson and Pepperell, giving 7-AA three of the top four finishers. Calhoun won the Region 7-AA championship, forcing the Lady Eagles to qualify for the finals via the sectional.
Pierce County won the Class AAA division, beating out Cartersville, Oconee County and North Oconee for its first state championship. Like Coosa, Pierce County made it to the finals by winning Friday's sectional.